Above: Julie's Healthy Raw Vegan Cheezecake with Chocolate Hemp Sauce
Three Reasons to Deliciously Replace Sugar This Holiday Season
Processed sugar (white AND brown) are bleached with sulfur dioxide and then filtered to remove all of raw cane sugar's vitamins and minerals. Without these micro nutrients, our body cannot recognize sugar as food, and the sugar becomes a free radical in our body. Free radicals are highly reactive molecules that damage cell DNA and membranes which over time can lead to premature wrinkles and make us more susceptible to disease.
#2: Sugar Consumption Can Lead to Weight Gain
In an attempt to use "mineral and vitamin - less" sugar, our bodies will extract nutrients from our bones and tissues that we need for normal human functioning such as calcium. As a result, it becomes more difficult for our body to perform normal functions and we are at risk to experience more health challenges. When we eat foods that rob our body of nutrients, we will feel hungry when we are physically full in an effort to get the micronutrients we need for survival. We are then more susceptible to weight gain. Click here to read more.
Both processed and raw sugar contain no fiber so the glucose is quickly absorbed into your blood stream causing high levels of blood sugar. This means your body needs to release large amounts of the insulin hormone to maintain balanced blood sugar. High levels of insulin in the blood means you gain weight more easily and your immunity is lowered.
#3. Sugar Production Harms the Environment
Not only does processed sugar disrupt the internal environment in our bodies, its production negatively impacts the natural world. The effluent and waste that sugar mills create are a source of major pollution for local environments. Large amounts of pesticides and herbicides are also applied to sugar canes and contaminate surrounding ares. And even more harm is done when sugar cane is harvested with fire and increases emissions of carbon dioxide into the air.
Replace Sugar Deliciously with Alternatives
Left: Mint Coconut Chocolate Chip GLOWnola sweetened with Coconut Sugar and Green Stevia. Layered with a cashew cream to create a parfait.
(1) Coconut Sugar
If you are baking, choose organic nutrient dense raw cane sugar (also called Suacanat) or better yet - coconut sugar (also called coconut sap). Coconut sugar is low-glycemic and packed with vitamins and minerals that will help you absorb the glucose and provide your body with the nutrient building blocks it needs to function normally - so you will be satiated with less food. Click here to read more about how nutrient dense foods can help you maintain a healthy weight without dieting.
Dates are high in fiber so the glucose is slowly released into your blood stream for sustained energy. The fiber also gives you feelings of satiety to prevent overeating. This middle eastern fruit is high in stress reducing B vitamins, iron and other important trace minerals. Dates make for great sweeteners in raw vegan desserts like cashew cream. To create simply blend soaked cashews, dates, water and some vanilla in blender.
(3) Dark Maple Syrup
Dark grade 3 maple syrup is dense in nutrients to aid your body in the proper utilization of glucose. This sweetener is especially high in the beauty mineral zinc. Maple syrup makes for delicious sweeteners in raw chocolates, muffins and more.
(2) Yacon Syrup
While more expensive than other sweeteners, this superfood is one of the lowest-glycemic sweeteners available. Most of the sugars in yacon syrup are in the form of a complex carbohydrate called a fructo-oligosaccharide (FOS). FOS sugars cannot be metabolized aka absorbed by your body and feed the friendly bacteria in your digestive system. This means that very little of the glucose is absorbed into your blood stream. Yacon syrup is also high in GLOW giving vitamins and minerals. For more information, click here to visit Organic Lives' website.
(1) Green Stevia
Green stevia is my favourite sweetener of all. I highly recommend Suede Hills' organic green stevia - grown in BC with lots of love and care for your health and the environment. Green stevia is simply a herb that has a naturally sweet taste and contains no calories - it is the equivalent of eating parsley. Some people do not like to use green stevia because it has a bitter or medicinal aftertaste. If you use small amounts of green stevia and combine with strong flavours like raw chocolate - it is possible to add sweetness using stevia deliciously. You can use green stevia in combination with other healthy sweeteners like dates and maple syrup to decrease the bitter taste of stevia and you will not need to use as much of the glucose sweeteners like dates, coconut sugar and maple syrup. While these sweeteners are much healthier than sugar - they are still a concentrated form of glucose and are best to be consumed in moderation.
Stay tuned for healthy holiday dessert recipes for raw vegan eggnog and a raw vegan pomegranate cheezecake blog posts that I will share over the next two days.
of Everyday Healthy and Get the GLOW!